Dogs In A Pile, the rising young quintet from the Jersey Shore, made their headlining debut in Brooklyn on Friday night at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg before heading down I-95 on Saturday to complete an unusual weekend sweep of Brooklyn with another headline debut at the Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia.
While home is technically–and geographically–equidistant between these two “Brooklyn” locales, Williamsburg sure felt like home on Friday night for the genre-bending jam band whose backyard stretches the Northeast corridor from Philly to Vermont. And with over 100 live shows to their credit already this calendar year, coming home couldn’t have been sweeter for the Dogs who played for a ravenous hometown crowd before they head out again next week on another month-long, coast-to-coast tour in support of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong followed by Andy Frasco & The U.N.
With an abundance of versatile talent and undeniable onstage chemistry, Joey Babick (drums), Jeremy Kaplan (keyboards), Jimmy Law (guitar), Sam Lucid (bass), and Brian Murray (guitar) channel a vibe that is utterly familiar yet completely fresh and original. Their artistic approach to songwriting allows their broad musical influences to shine through as they merge jazz, funk, rock and roll, and psychedelia to color a kaleidoscope of sound that is comfortable and exciting.
Highlights of the two-plus hour set included a lengthy “Go Set” that was characterized by the beautiful sounds of Kaplan’s vintage Rhodes electric piano and searing guitar solos from Jimmy Law. The band seamlessly segued the original into what sounded like an early 70’s Grateful Dead version of the Martha and The Vandellas’ title “Dancing In The Street” that would eventually find its way home to the “Go Set” from whence it came.
Putting their diverse range on display, Kaplan then led the room in a call and response singalong of the scat jazz classic “Minnie The Moocher” by Cab Calloway before Lucid made his vocal mark on the evening with “Renaissance Man”. A Joey Babick drum solo then gave way to the debut of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” which the band perfected with a reported five takes during soundcheck and in which Law left jaws agape with the high-end of his vocal range.
Dogs In A Pile – “The Way You Make Me Feel” (Michael Jackson) – 10/20/23
[Video: Marc Komito]
“Bugle On The Shelf” was given the full improvisational treatment as it explored new sonic territory behind dueling guitar solos from Murray and Law and a piano bar-esque solo from Kaplan. “Stevie Lew” kept the party going strong before “Bent Strange” brought the show to a powerful climax on the heels of Lucid’s thundering bass and Babick’s driving beats. After a short encore break, fan-favorite “Mr. Tooker” put the finishing touches on an important and special night.
Dogs In A Pile resurfaces next to support PPPP on their Talking Radioheads Halloween run in New Orleans and Austin, TX ahead of a run of November West Coast tour dates as support. For tickets and a full list of dates head here.
Check out a gallery of images from Dogs In A Pile at Music Hall of Williamsburg courtesy of photographer Nick Codina along with full-show audio.
Dogs In A Pile – Music Hall of Williamsburg – New York, NY – 10/20/23 – Full Audio
Setlist: Dogs In A Pile | Music Hall of Williamsburg | New York, NY | 10/20/23
One Set: Frosty > Four More Days, Blues for Brian, Go Set > Dancing in the Streets (Martha and The Vandellas) > Go Set, Minnie the Moocher, Look Johnny II, Song For The Dumped, Applesauce, Renaissance Man, Drums > The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson)  > Bugle on the Shelf, Stevie Lew, Bent Strange
Encore: Mr. Tooker